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March 21, 2014

Deep Dive into Windows Phone store

Our Deep Dive series has so far examined the Dialer, Windows Phone 8 Messaging and People hub. Now our curious minds turn to another Lumia essential; Windows Phone store.

To download anything on your Lumia, you’ll need to go through the Windows Phone store. All you need is a Microsoft account – set one up at

Upon launching, the Windows Phone store presents four basic pathways for discovering apps – Nokia collection, apps, games, and music. You can also slide the screen left and right to access more options, but more on that later…


Nokia collection

The Nokia collection contains home-grown apps that will only run on Lumia smartphones; Nokia Camera, Nokia Refocus, and Nokia Creative Studio.

Listed next to each item is the price in your local currency. Spy the word ‘free’ and you’ll be able to download gratis.

An important factor when choosing an app to download is the ratings. You’ll see an average star rating, next to the price.

Downloading an app or game couldn’t be simpler. Tap on the item in the store, hit the install button, and watch the progress bar as it completes. This usually only takes a matter of seconds for most items, however larger games could take several minutes depending on file size and your internet connection. Use Wi-Fi if possible.

Apps, games, music

As you’d expect, selecting one of these options drills you down into more specific content. Each section is displayed with a featured item, which changes daily.

Swiping left or right will bring up more categories, allowing you to dig even deeper to find even more specific content, such as ‘best-rated, or ‘new + rising’, as well as ‘lifestyle’, ‘children + family, and ‘social’.


There’s also a spotlight section, which is always worth checking out as it regularly contains off-the-radar content that you otherwise might miss.

Featured content

Jump back to the Windows Phone store welcome page and you’ll notice that you can swipe left and right to bring other screens into view.

Every day a newly featured app or game will appear to help you discover new content. The background of the store will reflect this featured item, displaying the logo or graphics from the game or app and keeping the Windows Phone store looking fresh.

Continue to swipe across to new screens and a small selection of featured apps, games, and music tiles will appear. Again, these are here to help you discover new content, rather than just navigating directly to one particular item.


While exploring and discovering is great for finding something new, and sometimes unexpected, if you’re looking for something specific, tap the search icon (magnifying glass).

Type the name of the app you’re interested in downloading and, as you type, you’ll be presented with suggestions. Either tap on one of the suggestions or finish your typing.

If the app is available on the Windows Phone store, go ahead and tap on it to start the download. If it’s not yet available, you’ll often be shown one of many alternatives.



No matter what section you’re in, or what app or game you’re looking at, there will always be a review section.

Reviews are submitted by other Windows Phone customers who leave a star rating – from one to five – as well as a brief reasoning for their score.

Whether you’ve liked something you’ve downloaded or not, leaving a review is always recommended as it helps your fellow Windows Phone customers make an informed decision. Also, developers love feedback of any kind as it helps them make better apps or games for everyone.


At various points during your Windows Phone store experience, you’ll likely notice a Share button. Tapping on it is a great way to share great content that you’ve found, via your social networks, messaging, email, or even Tap+Send. The latter allows you to share apps to other phones that are in close proximity, utilising your Lumia’s NFC function.


There are a couple of options available in the settings of Windows Phone store. The first is to add a PIN, which is super useful if you’ve got kids or you want to limit in-app purchases – you’ll need to enter your secret code to make a purchase of any kind.

Activating the suggestions function will connect your Microsoft and Facebook accounts to Bing, giving you personalised suggestions when you use Local Scout, Music + Videos, the Windows Phone store and Search.

Have you discovered anything new on the Windows Phone store lately? Tell us, below.